The boy is flying free tomorrow. 18 years old and ready to soak up some Japanese culture before camping with the grizzly bears in the national parks of America. Without us. As an independent adult.
When the fuck did this happen?!
Selfish emotions ran through our veins when he announced he wasn’t heading to university this year. It’s funny isn’t it – you think you couldn’t possibly endure any more Coldplay-on-a-loop, shit-tip teenage bedrooms with week-old cutlery and empty Ben and Jerry’s tubs, and an infuriatingly higher level of intelligence and political savvy than I have possessed in all my years put together. But when push comes to shove, I don’t want to push or shove. I want him to stay at home. In the toon. I mean, we’ve got culture here. Just look at what’s on the Quayside. Can’t he just get the number 44 into town?
But I do get it. I travelled in my twenties. Hull to New Zealand to Australia to Fiji to America. I blew all my cash living it up, backpacking as well as shopping in the fashionista suburbs of Melbourne and dining out daily. So something is telling me, given his higher IQ, that if I managed it, he can too.
He’s not started packing yet. He leaves at 10am tomorrow. He is, after all, a self-confessed procrastinator. He’s probably just planning the packing regime. I am sure there are lists detailing all the different ways he could be doing it. But perhaps that’s a good thing? Perhaps he is less likely to take risks without first considering all the possible outcomes? Less likely to jump into the water without first checking the temperature (that takes me back to a shockingly chilly Christmas day swim in NZ, 2004. Breathtaking – and not in a good way).
I remember my mum panicking when I was heading off on trips abroad. In fact, after all the travel I did on that big trip in 04/05, she still wanted to come through to the departure lounge with me a year later to ensure I got my plane to Malaga on time. I was in my late twenties by that point. But then again, given that I arrived an hour late for my flight when I was leaving the country for nine whole months, only to be saved by the fact that the plane had been delayed for three hours, perhaps that’s why I didn’t instil much confidence in her.
I guess you really shouldn’t compare what they’re like today to what we were like at their age, in the 90s. Generation X were nothing like the millennials. The millennials just seem a bit more clean cut and self-aware. They want to make things better again, whereas we just wanted to rebel.
But I remember, post-GCSE’s the first time our Sam went away on his own, with his mates on a camping trip. They held planning meetings (with minute takers and assigned actions on Paperchase stationary) to discuss who was taking what, the transport required and to map out a thorough logistical plan. When I went camping, I called my mum from the lakeside and asked her to pick up my house and work keys from the bar I got drunk in the night before. I had a vague idea that they might be there. She jumped in her car in her flip flops and met with the burly bouncers outside Oasis night club to retrieve her irresponsible daughter’s lost property. Which was handy given that I was back at work the next day. Thanks mum.
So I need to give him the credit he deserves. But if he does call us because he’s lost his bank card or needs us to check his itinerary because he spilt sake on his previously immaculate Paperchase notebook, I need to remember what my mum did for me at his age.
Have a blast Sam. We love you. xx